101 in 1001

I’m a big list maker. I like to plan. I always like to set goals and timelines. I feel grounded when I’m up in the clouds dreaming up plans for tomorrow. I know that sounds backwards. I don’t work so well with bunches of rules though, which is why I never complete any resolutions. So this year, in leu of New Year’s Resolutions, I’ve decided to join in on the 101 in 1001 fad and make my own list of things to do in the next 1001 (plus 1, I’m a tad early) days. The list-making was actually much harder than I anticipated. I got to about 78 and then ran completely dry. It took a few more days to finish out the list but now I’m really happy about it. I didn’t add anything that I didn’t actually want to accomplish and I refused to add “filler” goals because I want to be excited about each and every one on there. I even calculated the date that the imaginary hour glass will run out so that I can see the light at the end of the tunnel and feel a fire under my rear to get stuff done. (How’s that for a bunch of cliched verbiage in one sentence?) I know it’s not quite New Year’s yet, but who knows what I’ll be doing tomorrow night and a lot of these goals begin on the 1st! I gotta get these babies out there, documented and thus make myself accountable to them. What’s on your list for 2009?

101 in 1001
January 1, 2009 – September 29, 20011

The Key:
Not Started
In Progress
Accomplished (with the date)

Love and Life
1. Move into a house
2. Adopt a dog from a shelter
3. (Secret Goal)
4. (Super Secret Goal)
5. Tour Europe, take the cameras
6. Start dancing again
7. Visit 5 more state parks (2/5)
8. (Secret Goal) (10/31)
9. Spend a weekend morning with Mr. Beagle at garage sales
10. Stay in St. Pete Beach or Lido Key for a mini-vacay
11. (Secret Goal)
12. Spend a night in a B&B
13. Eat a candlelight dinner
14. Slow dance in public to music coming from the car
15. Have the Secret Letters Book bound and continue to keep adding to it

Social Stretching
16. Host a successful murder mystery dinner party
17. Treat each nephew to a special event specific to each of them with Mr. Beagle (0/3)
18. Go on a road trip
19. Sing on stage again (at least once)
20. Visit my dad’s side of the family 3 times (non-holiday related) in a year (0/3)
21. Say “yes” to a social outing I want to say “no” to for the sake of being extroverted
22. Pay for the person in the drive through at Starbucks behind me
23. Volunteer to take all the images for a pet shelter’s adoption site
24. Try a new restaurant that I’ve been skipping over in favor of the familiar
25. Go out to dinner at Chilis with a big group of friends (one of my old favorite things to do)
26. Host a LOST viewing party
27. Sneak into a movie
28. Get someone I don’t know to buy me a drink at a bar

Body and Soul
29. Weigh 115 consistently
30. Go an entire day without saying anything negative
31. Eat 95% raw for one week and record observations
32. Eliminate dairy from my diet for one week and see if affects the frequency of my migraines
33. Get rid of 20 things that I could keep but don’t really need to.
34.Let go of three toxic/pseudo friendships (5/3) (I decided to let go of a few more)
35. Get a professional massage
36. Do wii fit every day in May (0/20)
37. Go to the eye doctor for a check up
38. Start detoxing with teas regularly
39. Go to yoga at least once a week
40. Go for a dental check up and perhaps invisilign quote
41. Try tempeh
42. Run 100 miles (4/100)
43. Exfoliate regularly for maximum glow
44. Get rid of clothes/shoes/accessories that don’t match who I am right now
45. Take a nap in the middle of the day (without being sick)
46. Say what I mean and ask for what I want, diplomatically
47. Make delectable Seitan meatballs
48. Hike up something
49. Make a loaf of bread from scratch (must include yeast, rising, and kneeding)
50. Have visible abs
51. Unplug for 24 hours. (Phone off, no TV, no internet)

Money Matters
52. Sell my old car and get a new one (at least new to me)
53. Have an organized system for finances both business and personal
54. Maintain two savings accounts for business and personal needs
55. Sell prints/books in a small shop.
56. Have my credit limit increased by being a responsible spender
57. Start the process of buying a home
58. Sell the items I’ve been procrastinating about
59. Learn how to work the economy in my favor (investments, stocks, money markets, etc)

Busy-ness
60. Have an office/studio
61. Secret Goal for 2009 (20/20)
62. Secret Goal for 2010
63. Have a wedding featured on a prominent wedding blog
64. Have a wedding image featured in print
65. Write and have published an article for a photography peridical
66. Outline a non-profit that is photography based (start it, if possible)
67. Purchase 3 more L lenses (2/3)
68. Book a destination wedding
69. Hire an assistant
70. Learn more about lighting
71. Utilize ShootQ as soon as possible
72. Go to a workshop/convention
73. Buy the super cute anthropologie sofa I love for the office
74. Finish designing new marketing materials
75. Send LookBooks to 3 vendors (0/3)

Just Because
76. Brush up on ASL (by enrolling in a class, tutor, or self teaching)
77. Organize all my personal pictures and back them up. Then make albums
78. Get another tattoo
79. Send a postcard to Post Secret
80. Add all my old CD’s to my iTunes, organize, and backup
81. Read 5 novels (0/5)
82. Ride in a limo (not while shooting weddings)
83. Play in the snow
84. Purchase a baked good from the downtown bakery my birthday cake was ordered from
85. Purchase or make a headboard
86. Find/Make my dream dining table (to be completed after moving into a house)
87. Make iphone cupcakes for Mr. Beagle to take to the store.
88. Shoot a macro series
89. Have an organized and coordinated underwear drawer
90. Purchase the mac eyeliner I’ve been wanting
91. Organize my coin collection, somehow.
92. Buy 5 inch pumps
93. Obtain the Sex and the City pink boxed collection
94. Add tall black boots to my shoe collection
95. Make home made ice cream
96. Go on a cruise of some sort
97. Get a french manicure
98. Order something that I love from Etsy
99. Make fried cheesecake
100. Try a bloody mary before noon
101. Ride the Superman Ride in the tourist district

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Gingerbread Men

The smell of pine. Twinkling lights. Delicately wrapped gifts. Hot cocoa. Cinnamon. Cranberries. Stockings. Apple Cider. Gingerbread.

Recipe #2 of my Christmas goodies of ’08 is for those of you out there that love old-time Christmas charm. So for you Christmas traditionalists out there, please enjoy!

These chewy, spicy little cookies are so delicious that they will be a sure (animal free) crowd-pleaser this Christmas. Add to that the nostalgia of simple gingerbread men and you have got a hit. I had never made gingerbread before. I had also never made molasses cookies before. So when I saw this recipe for gingerbread molasses cookies I knew I had to made them! This recipe took about 5 minutes to whip up. Even rolling and cutting the little men out was quick. I think I rolled, cut, and baked all the cookies in 20 minutes. If you are baking these for a party, you will want to double or triple the recipe. It yielded 16 gingerbread men for me and I used a 6in. cookie cutter.

This recipe is originally from PPK. The only reason it’s adapted is because I didn’t have any regular sugar left after making my Christmas Candy the other day so I substituted brown sugar. And I upped the cinnamon a tad. You know how I am. 🙂

Gingerbread Men

Ingredients

1/3 c. canola oil
3/4 c. brown sugar
1/4 c. molasses
1/4 c. soymilk (I used Silk vanilla)
2 c. all purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp. ground ginger

1. Whisk together oil and brown sugar for about 3 minutes until well combined
2. Add in molasses and soymilk and continue to whisk until mixed
3. In another bowl, sift together all the dry ingredients
4. Add dry to wet slowly, stirring continually until the dough becomes fairly stiff
5. Form a disk out of the dough. Wrap the disk in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for 1 hour.
6. Preheat oven to 350.
7. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough until it is 1/4 in. thick
8. Cut out your gingerbread people. Gently transfer them to a lightly greased cookie sheet and bake for 8 minutes.
9. Allow to completely cool before icing.

Christmas Candy

For all you creative kitchen divas out there, I bring you a challenge worthy of your prowess. You cupcake masters who can mold anything out of fondant, you cake decorators, you mom’s of children who have honed your sculpting skills with hours of play-doh games, this one is for you!

Yesterday was Christmas baking day. But instead of the annual cookie-baking fest, I took a turn toward Candy Land with peppermint bark and these little beauties! Alexis, from Paper Wings, joined me and we spent the evening crafting these fun little candies in various Christmas shapes. The possibilities are endless and I’m sure someone out there will be a much better sculptor than I and will come up with something amazing. I, myself, was very proud of these little creations as I am a much better photographer than sculptor. HaHa!

The recipe is the same as last year’s candy corn recipe and the fun thing about the recipe is that you can really use it for any holiday depending on the shapes you create. We made trees, wreaths, gifts, holly bunches, stars of david, multiple colored candy canes, and then candy corns in Christmas colors and little rectangle tape strips. You can make whatever shapes you can dream up! We joked about making a life size menorah but I didn’t have 7 candles in the house so that didn’t work out. 😉

Ingredients

1 cup sugar
2/3 cup corn syrup (preferably organic, avoid high fructose corn syrup)
5 tablespoons Earth Balance
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup powdered soy milk
a pinch of kosher salt
Food colorings of your choice

1. In a large saucepan, bring the sugar, corn syrup, Earth Balance, & vanilla to a boil over high heat.
2. Reduce the heat to medium-high & boil the mixture for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3. After 5 minutes, remove from heat.
4. Sift the powdered sugar, powdered soy milk (I used flour since I couldn’t find the powdered milk), & salt into medium bowl.
5. Add the powdered sugar mixture to pan & stir to combine.
6. Let the mixture stand until slightly warm to touch, about 20 minutes.
7. Divide the dough into sections
8. Consider putting on rubber gloves, so you don’t stain your hands. Add several drops of yellow food coloring to one piece of dough & knead food coloring into the dough until smooth and color is even. (Leave some dough plain for white)

For trees and corn:
1. Using green colored dough, separate three equal-sized chunks.
2. Roll each piece into ropes of equal length (don’t roll too thin or the dough will break), flatten each roll a bit so it’s not perfectly round, and push the three ropes together to form a long rectangle. Overlapping each rope a bit over the one before.
3. Using a sharp knife, cut triangles out of each strip by alternating vertical cuts.
4. Using a small bit of yellow dough, roll tiny circles as tree toppers and place on the top of each tree

For candy canes:
1. Use one chunk of red and one chuck of plain (white) dough.
2. Roll a small chunk of red into a long, thin rope. (As long and thin as you can get it without breaking.) Repeat with white.
3. Twist the two ropes around each other and push ends together to seal.
4. Cut small strips and then curve one side down to form the cane.

For wreaths:
1. Roll yellow dough into two thing ropes.
2. Twist the two ropes around each other.
3. Cut small sections and curl them into circles, sealing the ends
4. Using small bits of red and green dough, form little triangle leaves and little red berries and press onto wreaths.

For gifts:
1. Form little cubes out of the dough using the table to make sure each side of the cube is even and flat
2. Roll very, very thin ropes out of another color dough.
3. Using the thin rope, “wrap” the gift leaving the tops loose like a bow.

For rectangle tape candies:
1. Use as many colors as you’d like
2. Roll each color into a long rope
3. Push the ropes up against each other and flatten a bit so they are not completely round and will hold together.
4. Cut evenly into little rectangles

In this photo you can see the various colored “corns” I made as well as the rectangle pieces. Make the majority of your candy in these shapes as it gets very tedious to craft intricate shapes out of all this dough. It makes a lot!